Early Years


Intent

We believe a child’s time in early years builds the foundations required for children to become happy, confident and successful future learners. Our team of experienced practitioners have created a safe and nurturing environment, where children feel safe to take risks and make mistakes. Relationships are key in Reception for children to thrive; from the moment a child starts school they are allocated a Key Worker who works closely with them and their families throughout the year, to ensure the child is happy and that every child achieves their full potential. We are fully committed to taking the time to understand and follow children’s interests and provide a rich curriculum that supports learning, consolidates and deepens knowledge. Both our indoor and outdoor provision is carefully planned and demonstrates a thorough knowledge and understanding of the way in which our children learn. We aim to prepare our children to achieve the Early Learning Goals at the end of their foundation stage year. Our ultimate aim is to prepare our children with the understanding and skills needed for the next stage of their learning journey in KS1.

Implementation

This new academic year we have reshaped our curriculum to create a progressive and enriching curriculum, specifically targeted to our families and community. We begin each year by looking at the individual needs of our children and their different starting points and with this information in mind, we are then able to plan a range of broad and balanced learning experiences linked to our long term plan.

Our curriculum is centred on four strands, which we felt were key to our children: Self-Regulation, Communication, Enrichment and Diversity.

Self-Regulation        

Throughout the year the children are supported and taught a number of strategies to help regulate their emotional responses when faced with overwhelming feelings.  The building of self-regulation helps children deal with the here and now. It prepares them for later life and gives them an essential life skill. At the start of the year ‘The Colour Monster’ story is a big focus in class, as it introduces a range of emotions. The characters within the book are used as a reference point throughout the year at our feelings station. Here the children can express how they are feeling, which is picked up by staff and acted on immediately. Talking about our feelings is an important strategy, which we encourage, support and model.

Our stimulating and well organised environment challenges the children to become problem solvers and to build resilience when faced with a problem.

Communication

Communication is key a factor within our setting. Our environment is rich in language, as we place huge importance on the development of children’s vocabulary.  We support children in being able to communicate their thoughts and ideas and explore the meaning of new words. 

Enrichment

Our curriculum is centred on making learning meaningful and purposeful for the children, by bringing learning to life. Throughout the year the children have the opportunity to grow garlic, potatoes, flowers and green beans, as well as harvesting all the fresh fruit grown on the school grounds. It’s always a delight for the children to sample the food they’ve harvested during lunch and to buy their produce to cook at home with their families.

Meeting people from the local community and around who have a particular skill set or talent, inspires and motivates the children. For example meeting an artist when drawing still life flowers; a fireman when learning about Bonfire Night Safety; a builder when making the 3 Little Pigs house and a Reverend when learning all about the Christmas Story. These personal experiences make learning more powerful, memorable and meaningful.

The children will also take part in national events such as ‘World Book Day’, ‘Earth Day’, Road Safety and many more.

Outdoor Fridays

Each week the children have the opportunity to explore outside of the early years classroom and venture further afield to the vegetable plot, the pond and the woodland area. The children deepen their understanding of the changing seasons by experiencing first hand changes over time, as well as discovering minibeasts, birds and animals. The arrival of frogs in spring is always a delight and the children love to observe the life cycle of a frog unfold before their eyes.

Diversity

Community links are important to our school and forging links with parents. We love to celebrate the diverse culture within our school and learn all about different celebrations and festivals celebrated all over the world. It’s important that all our children have a positive attitude to diversity and difference, and that every child feels unique/ valued and special.

Impact

We make every effort to ensure every child achieves their full potential in Reception by ensuring we know each and every child, through careful observations, questioning and assessments.  In addition to regular assessments, staff track progress every half term to ensure all children are moving forward and that no one is left behind. If a child is not making the expected progress, barriers are identified and carefully planned provision and interventions are put in place to help narrow the gap.  We understand that when assessing children against the Early Learning Goals, there will be many children who are awarded the same level but may be working at differing levels within this range. Effective communication between FS and KS1 staff is therefore crucial to achieve an effective transition for children and to plan accordingly for the next stage of their learning journey. As a team, we carry out regular internal moderation sessions and also ensure that staff attend external meetings to help develop professional development.

EYFS